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# Perma-Death and Continuity

## 85 posts in this topic

and since it will be quite some time before i''ll be
able to begin work on one, i''ll go ahead and share my
idea here with you all today.

i''m a big fan of karma.. alignment, ect..
the basic rundown of my idea was that your next
life would depend entirely on how you led your previous life.
ie) you were a player killing murderer.. theif.. smuggler,
ect.. your next life you could end up being some sort
of snake creature or rodent.. if you were a good guy (helped
newbies fight and win battles, give armor/weapons/gold/ect away,
ect) you could end up as a more benevolent creature.
a bull or a lion maybe.. just some thoughts, use them
if you like

-eldee
;another space monkey;
[ Forced Evolution Studios ]

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quote:
Original post by MrX02
what if, man-lizard and woman-lizard have an egg together. Sometime later, man-lizard dies and inhabits the child. What happens when woman-lizard dies if she hasn''t made another egg yet? Will she permanently die for not having a kid?

How about our lizards engage in asexual reproduction, so the only constraints on laying an egg are a sufficient store of energy and enough time for the fertilization to occur (there have to be somewhat strategic elements to laying eggs)?

I think I like that.

quote:
Original post by Ironside
Sounds like you might want to develop games full time? My advice is to do something clearly achievable. Make a platformer and try out some RPG elements, but keep it simple. I think you''ll be amazed at the time, energy, and resources required to complete something that something that''s described completely in a 20-page design and appears trivial to implement.

For the record, I''m not interested in developing games full time. For the record, I''ve developed my share of platformers, and even a 2.5D basketball sim (all lost to the lack of backups). For the record, Silvermyst is more responsible for design while I am more responsible for egging him on or reining him in as appropriate based on my knowledge and expertise as a software developer.

quote:
Original post by Ironside
Actually you’re risking a lot of time and effort that could have been put towards something achievable.

So this isn''t achievable? Interesting opinion, thanks a lot. I think it is, though, but I''m realistic enough not to expect our game to be breaking records by next year. We''re dreaming big but working small, focusing on the critical gameplay elements first and foremost and then emphasizing graphics and polish as bonuses.

Furthermore, this forum is about design, about creativity and looking into the potential, not the present. At least, that''s what I thought.

quote:
Original post by MorganE
<snip!>

You''ve gone at length saying why this will never work and why we shouldn''t try it. At this point, I would advise that you allow us to ignore your warnings and explore our foolishness. If nothing comes of it, you can say you told us so. If something comes of it, you can graciously say how pleasantly surprised you are.

I just don''t understand why you''re holding so vehemently to your position. It hasn''t been the primary focus for many games before; perhaps just in the discussion - based on the cardinal assuption that it is possible and some will be interested - we may advance the reasoning and state of the art... Perhaps. We''ll never know, though, unless we try.
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Don’t tell me I'm answering the wrong question. I only took the information you provided and summarized it.

The game is...

quote:
working on a design for an MMO game

a MMOG...

quote:
Players can and will bond with their avatar's, but they have to take into account that they could lose that avatar at any time due to permanent death .

quote:
Perma-Death and Continuity

which has permanent death in it...

quote:
I personally prefer the complete opposite: make PKing an integral part of the game.

a strong PvP system...

quote:
As this is not our dayjob (yet?)

were are an independent developer.

As for why I'm holding so vehemently to my position. I thought this was a forum for the discussion of ideas. Where people would speak intelligently about game design. I did not know this was just a forum to post random idea with out putting any forethought into them. I was looking for some intelligent response to why you felt this idea was doable but it seems the only thing I could get was being told I need to think outside the box and having people tell me that the examples I gave didn't apply to them although they could not provide any examples or arguments they could support in favor of their argument. What I was looking for was someone to say it would work and give an explanation for why it would, but alas this never materialized.

You may also want to consider that it takes two people to have a discussion and I haven't been talking to myself this whole time in this thread.

[edited by - MorganE on September 4, 2002 8:17:31 PM]
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quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
I just don''t understand why you''re holding so vehemently to your position.

A large part of this permadeth discussion is answering the question "Is our permadeath scheme reasonable." I believe this was the intended purpose of this thread. However you also posted that you were actually working on developing this idea and using it in an MMORPG. The idea is reasonable if it''s just a general game design idea, but it ceases to be reasonable if two guys are going to implement it in an MMORPG context in their spare time. Especially when everything is being written from scratch by one guy with (at best) moderate experience developing MMP systems. I believe this is why MorganE is so vehement about his position, and I tend to agree with him. It''s not a reasonable thing for two people (one developer) to implement.

quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
How about our lizards engage in asexual reproduction, so the only constraints on laying an egg are a sufficient store of energy and enough time for the fertilization to occur (there have to be somewhat strategic elements to laying eggs)?

I think I like that.

It''s statements like the above that worry me. There seems to be a line of reasoning present here that says "We can increase the complexity of our gameplay elements without increasing the technical complexity of the overall application". Just because gameplay isn''t a nice isolated engine object like a terrain or networking component it still can be incredibly complex to implement. The more gameplay elements and special conditions you introduce the more difficult tracking all the interactions becomes. Unless you''ve implemented this very carefully the game will be impossible to balance and maintain. Frankly it’s almost impossible to implement something like this correctly the 2nd or 3rd time let alone the 1st time. There are so many aspects you just can’t see until you’ve actually implemented them. Especially a system like the one you describe where there is likely to be a lot of churn while you figure out how to balance your new style of gameplay. Without any reference products to base your design off of it will be very difficult especially for someone with your experience. (it would be virtually impossible for me as well which is why I’m not attempting it)

I spent over a year researching and developing a networking layer for massively multiplayer games. I was not foolish enough to assume that I could actually make a game right off so I focused on the core components. I went out and studied everything I could get my hands on about the topic (incidentally I know a good list of book if anyone’s interested) I researched what the current state of the art was and what today’s big developers were doing. After the 18 or so months of prototyping/redesigning/prototyping/redesigning I finally arrived at a decent solution for a UDP based Client/Server networking layer that was flexible enough to be used in just about any client server based MMO. The NetEngine as I call it is functional I implemented two games with it one a 4 player Pong game and the other a multiplayer tank game where any number of players could connect and drive around shooting each other. The system worked pretty well however there''s still a month or so of tweaking left in it before it will be truly scaleable and performant.

Anyway I backed up that project to CD and several other sources so I would be sure to have it later in my development career when I needed it. No point spending a year of your life working on something only to loose it in a HD crash.

I put the NetEngine on the back burner because I want to become a full time independent game developer. I realized that the only way I could do this was to actually finish a game. So I decided to make a puzzle game with some simple well-defined gampleay elements. It''s been six months of working just about every weeknight and I now have a functional editor that can create tile maps and set tile properties and save and load maps.

The reason I don''t think your idea is achievable is that it''s just too massive. You need two write networking client and server code, you have to make the game client (rendering, GUI etc.) you need to implement all your movement and collision detection on a server so that it works even in a latent environment like an MMO. On top of that you need a rich set of content creation tools like editors in order to populate/create/tweak the game world. Your server has to persist data to a database and back up in the case of a crash, you''ll need a billing system of some sorts even if it''s paypal. All these varied systems will have to be tested and implemented on your own dev environment (which needs to be a fairly substantial one). On top of that you need most of the above items before you can even start implementing permadeath , PvP, and complex mating schemes.

It''s very difficult to work on a project that shows no measurable results until a year into development. Your motivation dries up very quickly. The more you implement the further away your finish line appears as you begin to get a clearer understanding of just how much needs to be done. I learned this working on the NetEngine.

I''m not god''s gift to development, and I certainly don''t have all the answers. But I do see myself as a practical person who is able to size up a situation and based on my experience draw a meaningful conclusion. My experience (though limited) tells me that this project is unachievable and hence unreasonable.

Here is an interesting link to an article written by Kurt Miller of www.flipcode.com that relates his experience making a "simple" overhead shooter. In my own experience I have found everything that he says in this article to be true.

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LET''S START ANEW!

PERMANENT DEATH QUERY:

1) Can you imagine yourself enjoying a game which features permanent death?

2) Describe what you think the positive effects of permanent death could be. What problems could it solve?

3) Describe what you think the negative effects of permanent death could be. What problems could it create?

4) Can you think of any games that feature permanent death?
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These are the main points I see against the proposal:

People don''t play games with PVP/permadeath
Pvp/permdeath is only for hardcore players
Too hard to implement
Need a game before you can worry about the design
Wont make the kind of money that would be required

People wont play:
Thare are games with PvP that have a lot of players. Runescape has a lot of players because of it''s cheap price. Project entropia has a lot of players because of it''s money making opportunity (well, it''s not as good as its supposed to be, but whatever). Helbreath has a lot of players because its free. And in beta, Shadowbane is popular due to it''s strong player versus player; Dragon empires has a popular following due to its innovative pvp system utilizing player flags; and there are quite a few other pvp games in development. Of those pvp games, I don''t think many of them have permadeath as it is a hot topic, and few developers/publishers who are out to make money want to take the risk. While not massively multiplayer, the majority of online games that people play ARE player versus player, such as counterstrike. So it''s safe to say that people ARE interested in player versus player, both in persistent and non persistent worlds.
As far as permanent death goes, it''s a little harder to judge the market because there are very few options that offer permanent death. Players do want to feel attached to their characters, but the fact that players tend to play more than one character when the games allow it shows that players dont always want to stick with the same character all the time. So dying and having to begin a new character would not be as bad a blow as is thought. A game with permanent death would no doubt have an edge in the media department, as it is rare to see a news item on a game with permanent death. So media coverage would definately let players KNOW about the game. And if the implementation were good (it wouldn''t have to be perfect, no game is) and the game were fun, I think that players would stay. It would most likely be a smaller amount of players than the bigger players, but it would also be a different set of the market. I don''t want to repeat myself, but I will say that games such as rogue, diablo iron mode, old bbs games, and quite a few muds, show that permanent death CAN be done, and there ARE people who enjoy the thrill in this kind of game.

As far as games having to cater to both hardcore and casual players, that is completely wrong. The majority of the thousands of people who play everquest are NOT casual players, I''m sorry. Casual players DO NOT PLAY mmorpgs. The reasons for this, are: they take too much time; all the other people in the game are rediculously powerful and a casual player can''t even think of catching up to those players; and the main thing to do in the game is to make your character better: if everyone is always ahead of you why even bother. So to say that a pvp/permdeath system will alienate the largest part of the market, is not true because the main market for these games is hardcore players. Hardcore players are the ones who will PAY a monthly fee for a computer game. With this said, I think the system proposed actually allows casual players to have more of a chance, without alienating hardcore players. The hardcore players will be the ones to explore the most dangerous areas and they will be under the most risk to lose their lives permanently. And a casual gamer who only plays 5 hours a week or less, if THEY lose their character it''s no big deal because they didn''t spend a lot of time getting him to higher levels. And there will be points where a new player could be at "level 5" while a "level 30" character dies and is only at "level 0". I use levels loosely as I don''t know how advancement works in this game, be it levels, skills, or something else. There are many games that are successful while focusing on harcore players, such as flight sims (Il 2 stormovik), war sims (operation flashpoint), turn based strategy games, and most mmorpgs. There are also many games that cater to casual players only and are successful, such as the deer hunter games, the sims, and many console games. Now, a game aimed at casual gamers that can snag them successfully will most likely make more money than even the best hardcore games. But, thats not to say that a hardcore only game can''t be successful. I can''t really think of many games that are loved by both casual and hardcore players, so trying to get both of them to play is a little on the silly side, but I don''t think it''s impossible.

I could be understanding you wrong IronSide, but it seems to me that you believe that you shouldn''t design a game until you have it made already. Developing games IS freaking hard, and it takes a long time, but what''s wrong with designing things while you are not busy with the other things. At least it gives you something to think about. Maybe you are more of a programmer than a designer, but for me, working on the design GIVES me motivation. When I''m pooped after a difficult 3 hours on the engine, I like to sit back and work on the design, or draw some art, or do some of the other fun things that go into the game. Otherwise my nose gets too into the code to see where it''s going. It can be easy to get so frustrated by the code to want to quit altogether, but if you at least have something your aiming for, it can help to keep you going. Most of the things that I read say it''s better to design before you implement, of course they are aiming toward the professional world, where changing the implementation due to bad design costs money and possibly jobs.

Now as for the last one, it''s the most difficult point to combat, but it goes along with the players. If the game were to get enough players, then it would make enough money. Getting enough players would take a good system, good marketing, and no doubt a lot of money. Whether the people stay playing or not has everything to do with content, and only a little to do with the system. If there is a lot for people to do in the game, they will keep playing. If there are a lot of players, people will make friends and not want to leave because their friends are on. This has a lot to do with the implementation; if the system is "good enough", then it wont be a detractor. The KEY question here is, is this system "good enough" to not be a detractor. I don''t really think it is , and it doesn''t seem to have really been thought over very much at the moment, but that''s obviously why the developers brought it here. They had thought through it many times, but can see that the system really isn''t good enough yet. So they wanted to give it to us for us to throw out ideas and see if it can be hammered about until it is. I''m not sure if that will happen, I have spent a lot of time on the issue and haven''t come up with very much myself, there always seems to be one issue that comes up that kills it.

Without player versus player, permanent death is fairly easy to deal with. As long as you make fights that are satisfying without being too dangerous, and make it easy to run away from monsters, you don''t have to worry too much. The risk level needs to be that when you are about to go somewhere where your life is at a very high risk of dying forever, that you KNOW what you are doing. Keeping this risk level at the right point in a player versus player game seems to me to be a very difficult if not impossible feat. It''s very hard to keep the high level players from attacking weak players, even if they don''t earn anything from that encounter. In dragon empires, certain missions flag the player allowing them to be attacked. This may be an option. And safe zones has been done to death in pvp games, I don''t like this much because then if your worried about staying alive, it means you can''t go anywhere interesting How about guild pvp? If you are not in a guild, no one can attack you. If you ARE in a guild, you can attack anyone from a guild that is not one of your allies. This could provide interesting terrirtorial warfare, while also giving fighting some comraderie. Guilds would be under the family name, so that when you come back as the child you are still in the same guild, and might eventually be able to avenge yourself - not by trying to run down the exact player who killed you, but by taking out someone from that guild.
I''m not sure if your name HAS to change when you take over your offspring. People name their kids after family members all the time, and sometimes even after one of the parents. For me, I could start out as Saluk, then my first child could be "Saluk the 2nd" and so on. This also gives you an idea of how many times a player has died
One more thing: If you can take over your child at any time, what happens to the adult? Does it go into ai mode? What kind of ai are you expecting for this game?

I think that''s all for now. No hard feelings to anyone, not trying to offend anyone. Everyone here is very intellegent, making this a very interesting discussion!
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1) I can see myself playing a game featuring both permanent death and player versus player

2) Permanent death can help level out the level treadmill giving newcomers more of a chance against hardcore players and hardcore gamers more of a thrill and playing along with more bragging rights. Just as item degredation can help stop the INSANE inflation of a virtual economy, permanent death can stop the insanely overpowered characters who seem to overpopulate your everyday virtual world.

3) It can be very difficult to lose a character permanently especially if you are attached and put a lot of effort in to them. And it''s very annoying to die when you feel you have no control over things, such as if you are almost dead on your way to town to heal up and some jerk coming out of town kills you as he passes you. And your dead. Forever.

4) Underlight features permanent death, they have a free trial. Other games are: those roguelike games, oldschool games (such as mario, where after losing all your lives you have to start from level 1 again), old bbs games, some modes of play on multiplayer addons to single player games (counterstrike and the like), quite a few muds (search for them on mudconnector.com).

Check the last few paragraphs of my last pots where I discuss your particular system a bit more in depth.
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http://www.rpgtimes.net/rpgtimes/article.php?article_id=97&origin=archive

has some really good examples.
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quote:
Original post by MorganE
Don’t tell me I''m answering the wrong question. I only took the information you provided and summarized it.

I don''t think you''re answering the wrong question, I think you''re not objectively considering the basis of my arguments (ignoring all others; I prefer to speak only for myself). Is something possible? Then is it feasible? What specific issues would prevent it from being achievable? How can we discuss this in a manner than educates and enlightens all sides of the discussion? That''s all I ask.

quote:
The game is...

The game is a PvP mutliplayer online game. "MMO"? Not necessarily. Sometimes we take advantage of terms because of their familiarity and the relative simplicity of applying them and their connotations - positive and negative - versus defining a new term. The avatars are non-human which, to my mind, alters many of the perceptual parameters. I might be mistaken, of course, but we do need to keep that in mind.

Player-player interaction is the central focus of the game, followed by exploration and interaction with the environment/autonomous entities. Since PvP is so central to the experience, then I think that aggression is a fundamental part of gameplay. As some have noted, there are classic online games (early MUDs, for instance) that operated quite successfully on this principle as well, but took steps to mitigate the loss of a character should it occur: leaderboards are one option; association of possessions with the user account versus the avatar is another; a third is the incorporation of the user''s exploits in the game world - "lore" as it were.

quote:
were are an independent developer.

I don''t intend ever not to be. For me, all I need to do is develop prototype systems that are playable. They may lack the visual polish of professional products or the robust networking code of a Quake... That''s okay. Others can carry on, either inspired by my successes and educated by my failures, or with whatever code is made public from this effort. Is there anything wrong with that?

I realize how gargantuan an undertaking a full-fledged MMORPG with hundreds of thousands of subscribers would be but, as many people know, I''m not interested in running any such endeavor. This is a hobby; I have other plans (outside software development entirely) for my life.

quote:
You may also want to consider that it takes two people to have a discussion and I haven''t been talking to myself this whole time in this thread.

Of course, and if I somehow inferred to you that you were completely disregarding all other input, I apologize. It''s just comments like "Man I just love how this message board works. I sometimes wonder if people read the entire post or not" that are, at the least, quite condescending. Note also your over emphasis on existing markets, which don''t suffice as a feasability study when you''re introducing a markedly different product.

quote:
Original post by Ironside
How about our lizards engage in asexual reproduction, so the only constraints on laying an egg are a sufficient store of energy and enough time for the fertilization to occur (there have to be somewhat strategic elements to laying eggs)?

I think I like that.

It''s statements like the above that worry me. There seems to be a line of reasoning present here that says "We can increase the complexity of our gameplay elements without increasing the technical complexity of the overall application". Just because gameplay isn''t a nice isolated engine object like a terrain or networking component it still can be incredibly complex to implement. The more gameplay elements and special conditions you introduce the more difficult tracking all the interactions becomes.

Actually, I think you completely missed the intention of that statement. Of course, I take the blame for that for not spelling myself out perfectly clearly. See, since our avatars are non-human, it is possible that their reproduction is quite different from that of humans (meaning it is not necessary that two players cooperate to spawn new offspring). At the same time, having two players cooperate could increase the social aspect/attraction of the game for some users, as well as provide the offspring avatars with a diverse genepool resulting in faster "evolution". What I was trying to say was that we don''t need to confine our thinking to "human" terms. Some species (eg certain plants) possess both male and female sexual organ; perhaps our "neo-lizards" do as well, but have the option of mating with other neo-lizards. That means that the user can lay an egg independently or with other lizards, both male and female. This isn''t supposed to be a "special consideration" but rather an integral definition of the avatars.

quote:

I''m not god''s gift to development, and I certainly don''t have all the answers. But I do see myself as a practical person who is able to size up a situation and based on my experience draw a meaningful conclusion. My experience (though limited) tells me that this project is unachievable and hence unreasonable.

I appreciate your frankness (even though, frankly, I don''t appreciate your [mis]assessment of my skill level). I disagree, but then again it''s my perogative to be foolish.
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Here''s my idea of how you could handle it:

When a player dies, he becomes a ghost. The higher the level he was when he died, the longer he is allowed to stay a ghost before his spirit dissipates and the character is lost forever. Now, while the player is a ghost, his body remains where he died so that another player can resurrect him. To make being a ghost worth while, if the dead player died alone, he is able to ''haunt'' live players perhaps drawing them to his body to help him. However because many players will likely travel in groups there needs to be a permanent or semi-permanent penalty. I propose to use both. When the player dies, his spirit must force its way out of his body. Thus, a part of the characters abilities are imbued into the equipment the character was wearing. A portion dependent on the character’s level. The higher the level, the larger the portion. Now, when the player is resurrected after X number of hours of playing with his equipment on, he will re-absorb all or nearly all of his abilities. Thus there is no penalty for dying unless the character loses his equipment. I propose that he will also regain most of his abilities even if he doesn’t have his equipment, but over a longer period of time. This benefits the pkers too. If they kill a player and loot his corpse they may be able to get equipment that has the players abilities attached to it as magical enhancements. For particulary powerful characters, the name of the character should be built into the equipment creating a unique set when he dies. Thus if a Necromancer named NightMagic dies, his helmet would bear the name NightMagic’s Helm and would grant the wearer a small percentage of NightMagic’s powers. This would apply similarly to everything he was wearing at the time. This will increase the incentive to try and kill higher level characters and give those characters a more dangerous life. The living should have a few skills that perhaps let them see or communicate with the dead so that the dead will have some hope of finding a friend to help them. Furthermore, you could also have wandering NPCs who would patrol the area around their villages or cities who could help fallen players. If guilds are set up or politics are involved, the NPCs might loot the corpses of players who are not friendly to their village and bring the spoils back for distribution! They would however help friendly players.
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Oluseyi it is extremely rude for you to continue attacking other peoples ideas when your "colleague" is trying to change the theme of the post into something more productive.

If you wish to continue the discussion I would be more then happy to discuss why someone who says
quote:
I am a very casual gamer; I''ve probably finished only three of the games I''ve ever played, and I hardly play most of those I currently own *

and was under the impression that
quote:
Current MMORPGs require you to find a safe place to hide out and "sleep" *

is perhaps a poor candidate for any discussion on game design or the discussion of an even more complex subject MMO game design.

You are clearly not reading all the messages on this discussion so I implore you to not disrespect your "co-conspirator" Silvermyst any more.

* These quotes are from a different thread which can be found here
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quote:
Original post by Saluk
So yes, for two guys to try to create a mmorpg, they must be crazy idiotic fools. But I think, Mortal, that you have stressed this point enough. If they want to be insane, I don''t think you can convince them otherwise They may surprise us, and if that happens, then so be it. But there isn''t much reason to continue beating the fact that it''s either impossible or near impossible to do into their heads

I’m just trying to do them a service. When you see people about to go off and waste their time and effort on a venture you know from experience is not attainable you do the right thing and try to save them from learning the hard way. Or as in my case you try and they don’t see reason, you give your best appeal and they still don’t see reason. So you figure well ok so they have more ambition then sense but then that’s what world changing is all about. You do your part letting them know what’s ahead of them and then let them have at it.

But then you get a reply post from one of the guys and he’s pretty condescending. Not only that but he tries to imply not only that your assessment of the task is incorrect but also that he is able to succeed where you dare not tread. So you look around the forums to find out just who this guy thinks he is. You know from his rep that he’s kind of an @$$, but then everyone’s an @$$ every now and then. So you start reading through his old posts and you find references to other totally unrealistic games he thinks he can make. Like an MMO sports sim with more features then AC and EQ combined. You find that he is very commandeering and posts as an authority on all topics related to game design. You also find from his posts that he’s fresh out of college. You start wondering about what his credentials are that he is so authoritative. Here is a short list of what you find.

quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
A major problem I have with current MMO offerings is the necessity of intense involvement (I am a very casual gamer; I''ve probably finished only three of the games I''ve ever played, and I hardly play most of those I currently own).
This thread 12th post from the top.

I actually advanced somewhat on a DOS-based incarnation around 1996/97, but that''s all history now

For the record, I''ve developed my share of platformers, and even a 2.5D basketball sim (all lost to the lack of backups).

For me, all I need to do is develop prototype systems that are playable. They may lack the visual polish of professional products or the robust networking code of a Quake... That''s okay. Others can carry on, either inspired by my successes and educated by my failures

So basically what we have here is another LandFish.

Someone who doesn’t even play games that much, implemented something that might have been a basketball sim if it was ever finished (However in recent times he’s taken to referring to it as a completed project), not only that he hasn’t kept up with development technologies so he doesn’t currently have the ability to even program a windows based game with directX/OpenGL. On top of that he expects to command the respect and admiration of others to a point where they will carry on HIS projects. I guess that’s why he’s not worried about the complexities of actually implementing this system.

So despite being insulted from a self aggrandizing moderator with no basis for his aggrandizement other then the sheer volume of his posts, I will take your advice Saluk and humor them.

PERMANENT DEATH QUERY:

1) Can you imagine yourself enjoying a game which features permanent death?
Actually I could see myself playing an mmorpg with permadeath. But I prefer simple gameplay elements. Simplicity is the father of elegence. I would just have permadeath be permadeath. The goal of the game would be to last as long as possible. To make the game fun the gameplay would have to support combat with mixed parties of higher and lower level characters. So that if a high level died he could still hang out with his friends until he caught up again.

2) Describe what you think the positive effects of permanent death could be. What problems could it solve?
Permadeath would make PvP the most exciting thing to ever happen to you in a game. It allready is breathtaking, your stomach get''s all tied in nots, it''s almost like a real fight. You could make that expirence much more exterem by having your invested time on the line

3) Describe what you think the negative effects of permanent death could be. What problems could it create?
Because when you die you have to start over the player will get very upset everytime they die. There needs to be some incentive for them to want to start from scratch once more. Having offspring and breeding and all that jazz just obfusicates the issue. Players will still be pissed when they die regardless of if they have offspring to inhabit or not.

One solution would to only have permadeat for PvP combat but not PvE. If the game permakills you you blame the game. If another player beats you fair and square your more likely to take your lumps and not complain

4) Can you think of any games that feature permanent death?

Diablo in Hardcore mode, but I never played it.
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I've tried to be polite, yet honest, throughout this thread. I've responded to people's points of view by stating that I respect and appreciate their opinions, by indicating where I disagree - even though I may clearly be wrong - but some feel in necessary to belabor the point.

There are two major reasons for failure in science, according to Arthur C. Clarke (Profiles of the Future) - failure of nerve and failure of imagination. Failure of imagination is particularly common among supposed experts in a field, because they have deemed (from their extensive experience) that something is absolutely impossible/worthless/etc. The stagnation and insularity that permeates most academic-like disciplines, software development included, leads to a disconnect with new possibilities. Small wonder that many radical advancements come from relative newcomers to a field.

I'm not trying to say why "I'm right and you're wrong", though some will obviously see it as being so (largely my fault, since I have no compunctions about acting like an ass on the internet; a "you don't know me, so fuck you" attitude can backfire...). Big deal. I'm not afraid to be wrong. I'm afraid to be afraid of being wrong; I'm afraid to be so scared of failure that I refuse to take chances. And since I already look like an ass, according to some, I have nothing to lose.

[edited by - Wavinator on September 6, 2002 7:24:05 PM]
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MORGANE wrote:
quote:
Oluseyi it is extremely rude for you to continue attacking other peoples ideas when your "colleague" is trying to change the theme of the post into something more productive.

Not trying to undo my own attempt at trying to lead the thread into a new direction, but I read over Oluseyi''s post and couldn''t find anything even slightl resembling ''attacking other peoples ideas''.
quote:
You are clearly not reading all the messages on this discussion so I implore you to not disrespect your "co-conspirator" Silvermyst any more.

I feel like I personally steered the thread down the wrong path with my overly strong attempt at defending the concept. I can''t blame anyone for not reading each and every word of a somewhat heated discussion between two individual posters.

There is no way that Oluseyi disrespected me. Respect is earned. Oluseyi has earned mine by welcoming and answering my endless stream of questions. If anything, I feel like I disrespected him by badly influencing this thread with my endless perm death/PvP talk.

Okay, enough about respect and disrespect, back to the topic at hand...
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LET'S CONTINUE!

PERMANENT DEATH QUERY:

1) Can you imagine yourself enjoying a game which features permanent death?

2) Describe what you think the positive effects of permanent death could be. What problems could it solve?

3) Describe what you think the negative effects of permanent death could be. What problems could it create?

4) Can you think of any games that feature permanent death?

RESULTS SO FAR:

1)
-Yes
-Yes

2)
-Increases adrenaline rush during PvP due to higher stakes

3)
-severs character attachment
-needs strong incentive for player to start over again

4)
-Underlight
-Diablo Hardcore
-Rogue (and Rogue-like games such as Angband)
-pretty much any (arcade) game without save feature
-certain FPS mods

[edited by - Silvermyst on September 5, 2002 10:23:21 AM]
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I don''t see what fresh out of college has to do with anything. Many of us taught ourselves programming before we ever took our first CS course. I''m a junior in college but I''ve been game programming for 6 years.

Also Oluseyi hasn''t been particularly rude or anything, up to this point:

Oluseyi: I''ve tried to be polite, yet honest, throughout this thread. ...So fuck you.

Words fail me.

As for the actual topic of this thread, I think many of us (myself included) are forgetting about the perma part of it. Absolutely none of our ideas has been about permanent death! And I don''t like the egg idea because it''s so non-death-like it''s just an alternate respawning scheme, really.

So I prefer tempdeath - temporary death. Current MMORPGs don''t even have this, as after you die you can pretty much immediately respawn, as far as I understand it (which is not far). My ghost idea involves people who actually die, but can permanently possess someone if that other person willingly sacrifices themselves. That allows for trading for bodies and so on, or people who raise bodies purposely to sell them to high-level dead guys. An MMORPG that encourages more alternate modes of play or more professions is good.

I also like MagicScript''s idea. In his world, people become ghosts too, but they can be sent back into their body and regain life (with some exp loss) if another player performs the ritual to do it. But the player also enchants the items he wears when he dies, although if resurrected and those items are scattered around, he regains his abilities slowly since his essense is spread around.

Although that idea allows for people to become powerful, die, get resurrected by a friend, and repeat (either with the same character or "character farms") to generate high-level equipment. I think his idea can only be balanced if you don''t allow the player to regain his lost abilities until he reclaims his items - as he gets each item back, he can absorb his essense from them, making the item a regular non-magic item. Or, he can choose not to (or have another character wear it) and just wear the magic armor. (Game balance check: Only one person''s spirit can be in an item, and only from one death - you can''t level repeatedly, dying repeatedly, to pump up a weapon to ridiculous power.) You can also give the player absolute knowledge of each of his items'' exact locations in the world (if his spirit resides in the items), so he can hunt down whoever has them (if they were stolen) and reclaim them, to get his abilities back. Of course he can level regularly as well, but absorbing his spirit from his items very quickly helps him level.

This system would actually be a lot like books and movies. In Lord of the Rings, the demon puts his spirit in his ring (without dying, but let''s ignore that point for now). After he dies, he tries to seek out the ring to get his strength back (and its abilities). Also, he always knows where the ring is, he can sense it.

~CGameProgrammer( );

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Good good. Lets ignore the senseless attacks and get this discussion going.

I agree with the points you've made about my idea CGameProgrammer; I hadn't even thought about that. I think the player shouldn't get absolute knowledge. Perhaps he can 'sense' if his items are nearby when he is alive, but while he is still a ghost (before someone resurrets him) he would have absolute knowledge. So, while is a spirit he is most in tune with the 'aura' his items give off, and they are marked specifically. But when he is alive, this 'aura' is barely detectable, so the player only gets hints like "That direction."

I actually have one disagreement, but no solution. I think that a player should be able to regain his abilities even without the items inorder to prevent overly punishing players who get pked and robbed. How or at what rate, and how this would affect the newly created items, I am unsure about. I think the items should only lose their magical enchantments if the oringial owner is actually wearing them so that the attacker (and theif) doesn't lose his very nice enchanted items just because X amount of time has passed.

[edited by - MagicScript on September 6, 2002 12:11:39 PM]
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First off, I need to publicly apologize to MorganE (with whom I have had private conversations) and Ironside. Irrespective of what I may have felt, I have a responsibility both personally and as a function of my role here on GameDev.Net, and I failed in it with my inappropriate utterances and actions. Whether I''m "right" or "wrong" (and from whose perspective) is immaterial. I''m sorry.

Secondly, I particularly wish to thank MorganE for his willingness to discuss (again, in private) our misunderstandings and to broaden my mind to certain issues. It''s much appreciated.

Finally, I would like to assure all that if I don''t have anything constructive or useful to say, I''ll shut up!

In light of what has been discussed previously, Silvermyst and I have been reexamining our design structure. Our focus is still fundamentally PvP, but Silvermyst is suggesting a way in which Perma-Death still affects the game but does not dominate it. Where death is more a part of gameplay than just the final outcome of battle. We''ll keep you posted, if you so desire.
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FIX: Ghosts can control/influence NPC/animals. Ex: In lord of the rings, the baddie that always new where the ring was manipulated several people and spirits etc etc to get the ring back. So when you die, you sick a pack-o-monsters on the bastard that gotcha! Or not , Im a big stupid head!
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Bleh, you ruined it by making up and withdrawing. I want to see what we can come up with in terms of well thought out ideas. I like the idea of a ghost having effect on animals or monsters of the wilderness. Perhaps certain more 'evil' monsters would try to lure the ghost and kill it. Or 'weaker' monsters/animals would 'sense' the ghost and be afraid. Allowing a higher level character who died the ability to 'haunt' a forest because his spirit will last for a considerable time.

[edited by - MagicScript on September 6, 2002 6:00:26 PM]
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Olusey, no harm done. In all honesty my post was a not so well veiled attack on you. I appreciate someone who is able to objectively analyze a situation and apologize if indeed it is warranted. I offer you the same courtesy in that I took offense too easily and retaliated with an attack on your character to make myself feel better.

We're square in my books. I think the whole thing may have been avoided if we all took time to read each others posts in depth and responded only when we fully comprehended the others issues and perspective. I think Saluk's post is a great example of this.

Edit: I had the "http:\\" prefix but as you see I used "\\" instad of "//" which may have thrown your browser off. Works in IE

[edited by - ironside on September 7, 2002 8:14:29 PM]
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Ironside: Thanks.

Now let me re-state and restart (if possible) the discussion. In private correspondence, Silvermyst and I have found that the primary obstacle to perma-death schemes seems to be the fact that most games of this nature feature human avatars, and human personal success/advancement (very broadly speaking) is measured in terms of possessions, affiliations and physical/intellectual prowess. This makes the death of a human character devastating, because virtually all advancement has been tied to the character in a non-transferrable form (thus giving rise to ideas like account-based storage and so forth).

If a similar game had animal avatars, for whom possessions are a non-issue, then the only problems are affiliations (who you know/knew) and ability. To a certain extent, ability is heritable, meaning if the player can continue the adventure via the offspring, then a certain amount of the parents'' ability/potential is retained. And we all know that - in real life - your father''s friends tend to react favorably towards you, and his enemies adversely. Perhaps some distinguishing birthmark could identify a spawn as decended from a particular progenitor? Or perhaps affiliations could be completely lost?

Also, combat need not always result in death. Our animals are fairly large - some almost dinosaur-sized - and as such mere flesh wounds should not be sufficient cause to kill them. Some injuries may be debilitating (broken limbs) while some may be fatal (broken neck, obviously, but punctured lungs could also lead to death). Some may even lead to loss of consciousness or coma of the avatar, during which time the gamer may wish to use other animals in his/her "stable".

These are just ideas, none set in stone. I think that making the context clear will help many more evaluate the specific considerations of this design, while also noting the limitations of human avatar games with respect to death and its effects may clarify the issues.
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Ironside, thatlink in your sig needs to have an "http://" prefix, otherwise web browsers will interpret the URL as being relative to "http://www.gamedev.net".
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Your remark on flesh wounds Oluseyi gives me a great idea.

Make death permanent, with the option to restart as an offspring. An offspring is given similar genes to its two parents to DEVELOP similarly as it''s parents. This doesn''t mean you start with everything leveled up, and it''s not like losing a bit of experience like dying in everquest. Now, because you can go off of previous generations of experience, the offspring will level faster until it''s roughly the same level of the parent. Your offspring also are born BEFORE you die. When you lay an egg, it is born in, say, 48 hours or so. You have to monitor and keep the egg safe or it wont hatch. Once it hatches, you have to keep the youngling safe. It will not be very protected unless you watch over it. If you die while it''s still young, then you will be able to carry on as the youngling, but it will be very hard to level it up without other adult protection. Once you get the youngling to roughly teenaged level, then you can safely spawn into him upon the parents death, as he can pretty much take care of himself. So its not just a simple, "Lay an egg, and you don''t have to worry about dying anymore" but you have to monitor the egg so its a suitable offspring to play. This also fixes the attachement, because even though you are attached to the adult, if you have to bring the youngling up from a baby this will help you get attached to him before the parent is gone. By the time you need to take over the child, you HAVE grown attached to it.

Now about the flesh wounds. Make each fight not that difficult. You don''t have to worry about getting into a fight and dying. Most fights will only result in "mere flesh wounds". You have A LOT of health. In this way, most scuffles with other players will also not damage you very much in the long run. But, healing in the game is hard. There could be some sort of healing shrine that you must find that changes places every time someone finds it. As you get beat up, and your health slowly lowers, it gets to a point where you ARE in danger of dying. At this point, if you don''t want to die, you need to set out on the long journey to find the healing shrine. You do recover health over time, but you also get older over time, and as you get older your physical traits start to subside, making it harder to recover your strength.
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But why would the player characters want to fight each other in the first place? If you have ''family'' names than perhaps over feud. Even without this, players will fight either because they have something to gain in attacking (and possibly killing) their fellow players or simply because they are being malicious. Now my question is: when one player in a battle decides he''s had enough and is in danger of dying, what is stopping his enemy from persuing in order to finish the job. In the case of a feud, the likelyhood of one player trying to finish off the other is high. After all, why not kill this enemy of your family. In the event of players trying to gain something from one another, what do you get if your opponent simply runs away (presuming that you let him.) If there is no punishment for ''murder'' then malicious players probably wouldn''t mind killing another player just for the ''fun'' of it. If there is punishment, then the likelyhood of them being satisfied with severly injuring their enemy increases.

The only respite for retreating players would be the enemy''s need to heal.
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